Companies: supporting the retraining of high-level sportswomen

It has now been a year since Alexia Dubié left the floors of professional basketball to devote herself to her professional retraining in the field of fashion. She launched her online sales site for women’s ready-to-wear, jewelry, accessories and everyday objects in March 2022. Next objective: to open a physical store, within one to two years.

It was to be accompanied in her first steps as an entrepreneur that she decided to follow the mentoring program just created by Banque Palatine, which specializes in supporting ETIs (mid-sized companies) for sportswomen. high level preparing for their retraining. And this just two years before the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and while Olympic Day was held at the Stade de France on Sunday June 26.

Men convert better than women

“Women’s sport in general, and high-level sport in particular, is under-reported compared to men’s competitions, regrets Patrick Ibry, Deputy CEO of Banque Palatine. This situation is somewhat the mirror of professional life, where women leaders are still in the minority. »

The observation is also confirmed in professional sports retraining. “Men manage to convert better than women, notes former professional cyclist Séverine Desbouys, who co-created the program alongside Patrick Ibry. Athletes do not value their high-level career as much as sportsmen, once the competition is over. I don’t know if it’s a cultural obstacle, but in fact, we designed this program to “dare” with and for them, so that their backgrounds and skills constitute the basis for the success of their project”. continues the one who created DSC, a consulting firm in strategy and economic intelligence.

Alexia Dubié is part of the first promotion. “Entrepreneurship has always appealed to me, she remembers, but putting it into practice is complicated, and I feel the need to benefit from the experience of mentors and to acquire skills. »

Sporting world and business world

On the program of these nine months of mentoring: skills assessment, collective workshops to acquire the basics of entrepreneurship, individual meetings to deepen and communicate on your own project, start to weave your new professional network… “We help them get to know each other, also depending on their sporting discipline…”, emphasizes Séverine Desbouys. In his eyes, the parallel between the world of sport and the world of business speaks volumes. “An athlete is a business in itself. Like the entrepreneur, he needs to surround himself with a good team, and everything is played out for him in action, on the ground. Both also need to know how to bounce back from failure. »

As in the life of a high-level athlete, the pace of the program is intended to be sustained and adapted to the needs of each athlete, depending in particular on whether she has already ended her career or is still in the world of competition.

This is the case of Coralie Gassama, an international sprinter who has not yet hung up her shoes. “Entrepreneurship, I didn’t know what it was two years ago, but I realize that it fits very well with my personality and my training in sports management. I want to optimize everything, to maximize my chances as soon as possible,” says this athlete who created protective insoles for athletic spikes.

Company codes

Each sportswoman benefits in particular from the advice of the mentors of the program. Anne-Flore Maman Larraufie is one of them. This Saint-Cyrienne converted into civilian life, who also accompanies former officers, knows what she is talking about. “In the army, you are told what to do, how and when… When you find yourself in a more ‘classic’ world, you feel a little helpless, less surrounded. Not to mention the codes and language of business creation…”, testifies the one who is today director of the MBA Business School at Essec. She shows her ambition to “to challenge the projects of sportswomen, to ask unpleasant questions to make them progress, like a trainer”.

Acquiring the codes of the company is essential, adds Françoise Derolez, at Grant Alexander – a recruitment and consulting firm –, also a mentor. “You have to know how to reach a market, adapt your project if the first results are not up to par…” This spirit of transmission “speaks” to sportswomen. “As a former playmaker, the notion of team is central to me”, insists Alexia Dubié. As for Coralie Gassama, if she sprints individually, she is no less “surrounded by caregivers, a coach, his family – without whom we can do nothing…”


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